How to Legally Change Your Name in WV After Marriage

West Virginians have a special set of instructions and advice for making a postwedding surname switch.
wedding couple
Brittany Anderson Photography
Elena Donovan Mauer the knot
Elena Donovan Mauer
Elena Donovan Mauer the knot
Elena Donovan Mauer
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Elena creates content for a variety of print and digital publications, including The Knot, The Bump, Parents, Real Simple, and Good Housekeeping.
  • Elena is a former weddings editor, having held positions at Modern Bride and Bridal Guide and contributed to The Knot Ultimate Wedding Lookbook.
  • Elena is currently Senior Editor for Happify Health, an adjunct instructor for Pace University, a freelance writer, and content con...
Updated May 20, 2020
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Attention mountaineers! If you're wondering how to legally change your name in WV after marriage, you've come to the right place. A West Virginia name change is a bit unique—as every state has its own procedures—and so we've created this guide to help you more simply get through the process of obtaining a marriage license, new Social Security card, updated passport and driver's license.

Of course, if you want to make things even easier on yourself, you can decide to hire a name change service like HitchSwitch. This service offers you just one form to fill out and personalized instructions for submitting everything fuss-free. It can take a huge weight off your newlywed shoulders!

No matter how you work through the process, you should know the most important steps to how to change your last name in WV.

How to Get Your Marriage License and Certificate

Most people kick off the postwedding name change process by applying for their marriage license. Yep, the first step happens before you even get married! The marriage license should be obtained in the state or country where your wedding ceremony will take place.

If you're getting married in WV, you and your future spouse can apply in any county clerk's office within the state. Each county might have slightly different procedures, such as scheduling appointments in advance, so check with yours ahead of time to know exactly how to get a marriage license in WV there.

What forms do you need?

You'll fill out a WV marriage license application. (Here's an example of what it looks like for Monongalia County.) Bring along your driver's license or other government-issued ID that has your birthdate on it.

How much does it cost?

How much is a marriage license in WV? It's $56. But you may get that fee lowered to $36 if you complete a premarital education course.

Important things to remember:

Some states ask to-be-wed couples to fill in their new names on their marriage license application. If yours does, it's important you fill in the new name, says Jake Wolff, founder of HitchSwitch, in order to keep the process straightforward and eliminate the need for a name change petition later on.

In West Virginia, though, "You just put in your current name," says Wolff. "The marriage license does not ask for the married name." So you won't need to worry about this step and still, in most cases, won't need the petition.

How to File a Name Change Petition in WV

Let's explain a bit more about name change petitions and how they work. Usually, they're not needed if there's a marriage certificate, and you're changing your last name to your spouse's last name or a hyphenation or combo of the two last names, explains Wolff.

But, if you didn't have a legal marriage, or if you want to do something a little less conventional for your name change, then you may have to file a petition for a court ordered name change.

To petition for a legal name change in West Virginia, check out this information about the WV name change law. You'll need to obtain full instructions and West Virginia name change petition forms from the circuit or family court of the county where you live. They can also answer questions you have about the cost of a name change in WV, since it may vary from court to court.

How to Change Your Name on Your Social Security Card

The Social Security card is key to making a legal name change in West Virginia. That's because a Social Security name change in WV—and the rest of the US—makes your new moniker official with the federal government. Plus, it's necessary before you can change your name on other forms of ID, like your passport and driver's license.

For full instructions, see the SSA's guide to getting a corrected card. Below are the most important details on what you'll have to submit.

What forms do you need?

You'll need to fill out an application for a Social Security card (Form SS-5), and mail or bring it to your local SSA office, along with:

  • Your legal name change document (your marriage certificate or court order)
  • Proof of identity (your current driver's license, state ID or passport, for example)
  • Proof of citizenship, only if you haven't provided it to the SSA (your birth certificate or passport)

Find a SS WV location here.

How much does it cost?

This is one of the few West Virginia state name change steps that are absolutely free!

Important things to remember:

Get original or certified copies of your documents to submit to the Social Security office, since they won't accept photocopies. This means you may have to request them from Vital Records and other record holding offices. That can cost a small fee.

How to Change Your Name on Your US Passport

Get your name changed on your passport next, suggests Wolff. This is an important piece of ID to have corrected if you're going to travel internationally. Plus, you can use your passport as proof of your new name when you change it on your driver's license. It can take up to six to eight weeks to get a new passport, so the sooner you can kick off this step, the better.

What forms do you need?

Take a look at your current passport. The form you need will depend on which of the below steps you'll need to take:

1. You're making a passport correction.

If your passport is less than a year old at the time you're changing your name, fill out Form DS-5504 for a passport correction. Mail the form in with:

  • Your current passport
  • Your certified name change document
  • A color passport photo (which is included in HitchSwitch's $99 package)

2. You're renewing your passport.

If your passport was issued within the last 15 years, and you were at least 16 years old, when you got it, you'll need to make a renewal (so long as it's still in good condition). Mail in a completed Form DS-82, along with:

  • Your current passport
  • Your certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

3. You're making a passport application.

If your passport doesn't fit either of the above descriptions, you'll have to use Form DS-11 to apply for a new passport. For this, visit a Passport Acceptance Facility in person, bringing along the completed form and:

  • Proof of identity, and a photocopy
  • Proof of citizenship, and a photocopy
  • Your certified name change document
  • A color passport photo

For full passport name change instructions, visit Travel.State.Gov.

How much does it cost?

Cost hinges on which of the above forms you need to use. Passport correction is free. Passport renewal costs $110 for a passport book and $30 for a card. A new passport costs $110 for a passport book and $30 for a card, plus, $35 in additional fees.

Important things to remember:

While it's important to get your passport updated in a timely manner, it's also important to time it right with any upcoming trips. That's because your name on trip tickets and reservations should match your name on your passport. And so, sometimes it makes sense to hold off because you have a trip coming up or to expedite service to get your passport more quickly.

How to Change Your Name on Your WV Driver's License

Next up is your WV driver's license name change. To make the switch, you'll have to visit a DMV location in person. Here's a list of locations.

What forms do you need?

To make your WV DMV name change after marriage, you'll need to provide proof of your name change (the marriage certificate or court order). If you don't have your name change document, the DMV will accept a passport and a Social Security card, if they both have the new name on them. Here's more info on legal name change documents accepted by the WV DMV.

How much does it cost?

A WV driver's license costs $5 per year until your age is a multiple of five (25, 35, 45, etc.), plus $0.50.

Important things to remember:

You'll need to bring originals or certified copies of your documents to the DMV, too.

How to Finish Changing Your Name in WV

Now that you know how to change your name in WV, know that your to-do list won't be complete once you've done all of the above. That's because, even though your most important IDs will have your new name on them, records, files and accounts will need to be updated with your new info. So spread the word to your bank, employer, insurance companies and much more.

And yes, this part can be overwhelming too, which is why HitchSwitch offers services to help its customers with it. It can provide checklists and instructions for virtually every part of your West Virginia name change. That way, you'll know you completed all the important steps!

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